Establishment Of The Secretariat Of The Asian Mayors Forum In Tehran

After the first meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum in November 2008 in Tehran, Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi was appointed as the acting Director of the Asian Mayors Forum Secretariat by Dr. Qalibaf, Mayor of Tehran, in order to coordinate the activities of the Forum regularly and more extensively, as agreed upon in the Article 15 of the Tehran Fourm's Final Declaration.
The Asian Mayors Forum Secretariat intends to continue its activities using all the available resources aiming to achieve more cooperation and integrity among Asian metropolises, urban development and higher standards of life for all citizens.

Some of the goals of the Forum include: elevation of the levels of cooperation and partnerships among municipalities, creating better environments for balanced urban developments with special emphasis on the dignity of all citizens, cultural and social integrity among the citizens of member cities and offering better solutions for resource allocation towards optimization of urban development.

Asian Mayors Forum(AMF) Meetings in brief(2008-2012)

As the world is globalizing, more and more people leave their home to move to the urban areas for having better economic and social opportunities. Urbanization is a result of this trend happening all over the world and nowadays with a higher speed in developing countries. In a time when majority of the human population live in urban areas, urbanization has a significant impact on our society and life style.  Due to this trend today, cities are increasingly taking a leadership role amid the phenomenon of globalization. Since most countries are facing rapid urbanization, this fact can no longer be ignored. Countries also feel the need to tackle with this phenomenon in a more cooperative way. Although there might not be any easy solutions however, metropolitan cities have to be prepared to engage with much more participatory processes where people and their communities are fully involved in decisions affecting their livelihoods. ‘City-to-City Cooperation’ (C2C) may cover all possible forms of relationship between local authorities at any level in two or more countries which are collaborating together over matters of mutual interest, whether with or without a third party support.
In recent years the practice and scope of C2C has widened considerably on the initiative of city leaders, increasing the capacity of their cities and providing the cities with the opportunity for dealing with their own problems in close touch with their citizens. In response to the trends and political developments outlined above, establishment of the Secretariat of the Asian Mayors Forum in Tehran in 2008 has the goal of preparing fertile grounds for discussing successful experiences and innovative ideas for enhancement of cooperation among cities in Asia while also providing the cities and municipalities with the opportunity to engage in dialogue and deal with new challenges facing Asian cities.

Asian Mayors Forum (AMF) was established based on the provisions of Article 63 of the 2007 Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) Final Declaration adopted unanimously in 2007,  with the purpose of establishing sustainable peace, promoting constructive co-operations among Asian cities and people, enhancing friendly relations among Asian cities as well as providing required ground for sustainable development of all Asian cities in different economic, social, scientific and technological fields. Furthermore the aim of promoting and facilitating further cooperation and networking among Mayors and Municipalities throughout Asia is highly emphasized.

Mayors Meeting
First meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum, November 2008-Tehran
The first meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum was organized in November 19, 2008 in Tehran by initiative and at the host of Dr. Qalibaf, the distinguished Mayor of Tehran. Mayors and municipal authorities from 89 Asian and Non-Asian cities attended the meeting. The participants chose “Asia for Citizens: Integration for A Better Life” as the theme of the meeting and also welcomed deserved initiative of Dr. Qalibaf, Mayor of Tehran, for the establishment of the Permanent Secretariat of the Asian Mayors Forum in Tehran.
The meeting was followed with remarks and speeches on the topic of city to city cooperation in Asia. All speakers emphasized on the role of cities in the globalized world and the need to collaborate in order to combat common challenges. Furthermore during the general assembly thirteen of the attending dignitaries delivered their speech throughout the session.
The guests also visited Tehran Municipality's achievements and progress.
Meeting decisions:
1- Adoption of Tehran final declaration.
2- Adoption of Asian Mayors Forum Permanent Secretariat in Tehran. 


First meeting of AMF _ opening ceremony_ Tehran 2008

Tehran Declaration (Adopted at the First General Assembly Nov 2008)                              
In a workshop consisting of mayors and experts of metropolis authorities, the draft of the final declaration, in 15 articles, was reviewed, discussed, approved and ultimately prepared for presentation in the closing ceremony. The final declaration was adopted by the general assembly on November 20, 2008. The following is the text of the final declaration:

Ms. Arti Mehran Mayor of Delhi

We the Mayors and Authorities of 89 Asian cities convened in Tehran and kindly hosted by the people and municipality of Tehran, on 19-20 November 2008, for the first meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum representing our respective Municipalities and Localities do hereby:

1. Appreciate the pioneering role of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly in promoting a comprehensive approach to regional cooperation in Asia and recalling its Tehran Declaration of 2007 encouraging “Asian local governments, city councils, and mayors to exchange information and experience with a view to promoting cooperation and integration in Asia;”
2. Welcome the initiative by His Excellency Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf the Mayor of Tehran for organizing the Asian Mayors Forum as a new institution aiming at promoting and facilitating further cooperation and networking among Mayors and Municipalities of Major Cities throughout Asia;
3. Acknowledge the contribution of Asian Major Cities, as the cradles of civilization, to the development of human society at large; Underscore the essential role of cities in realization of good governance, sustainable development, and human prosperity, at national, regional, and global levels;
4. Underscore the essential role of cities in realization of good governance, sustainable development, and human prosperity, at national regional and global levels;
5. Envisage Asian Major Cities as coherent cities which are historically significant; economically strong; socially prosperous; culturally diverse; politically influential; technologically advanced; environmentally clean; and internationally proactive; 
6. Recognize that further interaction and integration among Asian Major Cities, will facilitate urban development and pave the way for higher standards of living throughout Asia;
7. Recall the enormous potentials of Asian Major Cities for city-to-city cooperation in areas such as urban planning and management, urban tourism and architecture, trade and investment, energy, science and technology; 
8. Express concern about the common challenges facing Asian Major Cities, including rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, vulnerable socio-cultural identity, uneasy transportation and mobility, underdeveloped health and safety, urban inequality and poverty, unstable financial resources, and natural disasters;
9. Support the development of new networks among Asian Cities for the exchange of information, organization of expert conferences, and initiating joint research projects as well as training programs, to meet the common challenges facing the efficient urban management in Asia;
10. Express satisfaction with growing awareness vis-à-vis the effectiveness of local governance and public participation in the improvement of urban services in the Asian Major Cities;
11. Determine to promote policies and practices providing greater role for public participation in decision-making processes of urban management;
12. Resolve to collaborate with regional, international, and Asian sub-regional organizations and fora in promoting further cooperation and integration across the continent; 
13. Decide to establish and maintain an information portal on the Internet linking all Asian Cities with a view to promote further communication and facilitate “virtual cities” as effective infrastructural means for city good governance; 
14. Decide to convene annually in the meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum to be hosted by a volunteer city in order to discuss matters of our common interest and coordinate efforts in meeting our common challenges;
15. Appreciate the generous initiative by the Municipality of Tehran to set up and host the Secretariat of the Asian Mayors Forum in order to facilitate future networking activities and follow up the realization of this Final Statement.
First meeting of AMF Tehran 2008 

The meeting of the representatives of the Asian Mayors Forum 2009-Tehran
As a follow up to the first meeting of Asian Mayors in Tehran, One year later, a meeting was organized in Tehran with the participation of 46 Asian mayors or their representatives.

The decisions of this 3 day meeting were: 1- to further discuss the work plan of the second Asian Mayors forum to be held in 2011, 2- to further analyze the recommended declaration of Asian Mayors Forum, 3- it was decided that the Asian Mayors Forum meeting shall be organized every two year in one of the Asian cities and accordingly the city of Istanbul was volunteered and selected as the host to the Second meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum on  April 1-2 2011.The preliminary draft charter of AMF was discussed on the first day and an ad-hoc committee composed of representatives from Iran, Japan, Bahrain and Turkey was established to collaborate on the charter and finalize the draft charter to be presented  to the next General Assembly of the Forum in Istanbul for approval. 


Asian Mayors Representatives - Tehran 2009

An ad-hoc committee in Manama (Bahrain)-March 2010

Following the meeting representatives of the Asian Mayors in Tehran 2-4 Dec-2009,since the deliberation of the charter of Asian Mayors Forum required more time it was decided to establish a volunteer committee composed of representatives of cities from Tehran (Iran), Kashyvazaky (Japan), Manama (Bahrain), and Istanbul (Turkey) to continue to discuss the charter. This committee was held in Manama (Bahrain) on March 2010.In this meeting all 66 articles of the charter was discussed and agreement was reached according to the proposed text by the representatives. This charter was approved by the Mayors of AMF on April 2011 in Istanbul.

Bahrain 2010

Second meeting of Asian Mayors Forum April 2011- Istanbul

Two years after the first meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum In Tehran and in the wake of its successful and fruitful achievements the second meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum was organized in Istanbul, Turkey, on 1-2 April 2011.  A number of 51 Asian and European mayors, 128 senior experts from Asian municipalities, members of Asian city councils as well as representatives of 10 international bodies and organizations attended this meeting. According to the agenda of the meeting “Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on the Economies of Asian Cities” as the main subject, and “Common Challenges Facing Asian Cities”, “The Financial and Economic Crisis”, “Urban health”, “Sustainable Environment”, “Urban Transportation”, “The Urban Diplomacy, Relations and Cooperation”, “Local Governance” and “Citizens Participation” as the secondary subjects, were discussed in different specialized working groups. In this General assembly, Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi was elected as the first Secretary General of AMF.  
In the meeting Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi, the Secretary General of the Asian Mayors Forum, Dr. Mohammad Qalibaf, the distinguished Mayor of Tehran and President of the Forum, and Dr. Kadir Topbas, the distinguished Mayor of Istanbul, made some remarks on the growth of cities and the importance of the role of local governments and city to city cooperation in tackling common challenges Asian cities face today. 
Furthermore during the plenary meeting Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi, presented a report on the activities and works of the Permanent Secretariat during the two preceding years. As a follow up Dr Hussein Abdel-Razzak Al Gezairy, Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Bilal Hamad, Mayor of Beirut, Mr. Li Min Teri, Deputy Mayor of Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam and Mr. Ni Oo Poching, Advisor to Mayor of Beijing, made some remarks on the common challenges facing Asia and their successful urban experiences.
As a result and conclusion of the meeting new commitments were admitted and accepted by the Asian Mayors Forum as enshrined in its Final Declaration which by themselves requires organization of relevant working groups as well as continuous contacts.  

Meetings and talks among Asian mayors prepared the required ground in favor of future co-operations among Asian cities.

Dr.Kadir Topbas Mayor of Istanbul- 2011

Istanbul Declaration (Adopted at the second General Assembly April 2011)

We, the Mayors and Authorities of Asian cities convened in the Second Meeting of the General Assembly of the Asian Mayors Forum (AMF) on April 1st. and 2nd. of 2011, hosted by the municipality of Istanbul in collaboration with Union of Municipalities of Turkey and United Cities & Local Governments (UCLG, Middle East &West Asia Section); 
Recalling the Final Declaration of the First Meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum in Tehran which was adopted unanimously on November 20th., 2008, and marked the establishment of the Forum with the aim of promoting and facilitating further cooperation and networking among Mayors and Municipalities throughout Asia; 
Emphasizing the crucial role of municipalities in enhancing the quality of life; realization of sustainable economic growth; and promotion of good governance at local, national, and regional levels; 
Cognizant of the persistent common challenges defying effective urban management including rapid urbanization; urban inequality and poverty; vulnerable socio-cultural identity; poor conditions of health and safety; uneasy transportation and mobility; environmental degradation; natural disasters; inefficient energy consumption, infrastructure; and unstable financial resources; 
Fostering further collaboration with regional and international organizations in developing future networking among Asian Cities to facilitate exchange of information and sharing of the best practices relevant to sustainable urban development in Asia; 
Encouraging Member Cities and Municipal Authorities throughout Asia to provide humanitarian assistance and support to 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan; 
Extending profound appreciation to H.E. Dr. Mohammad Bager Qalibaf, the Mayor of Tehran, for his exemplary leadership and determined efforts in promoting and supporting the objectives of AMF during his chairmanship.
Expressing gratitude to the City of Istanbul for gracious offer extended to the Second Meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum and to H.E. Dr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan, for his generous hospitality accorded to all participants during the meeting. 
Appreciating the constructive efforts made by the General Secretariat in preparing the draft Charter for the Forum; 
Adopt the Charter of the Asian Mayors Forum as considered and negotiated by the General Assembly and call upon all Member Cities to fulfill their commitments with respect to its provisions; 
Call Upon Member Cities and Municipal Authorities throughout Asia to promote policies and practices providing greater role for public participation in decision-making processes of urban management; planning and urban upgrading with a special emphasis on informal settlement; 
Urge the Mayors and Authorities of all Member Cities to undertake leadership role in synergizing efforts of all development sectors in response to adverse effects of socio-economic determinants of health; 
Decide to establish a working group under each Standing Commission of the AMF to consider ways and means for developing an effective network of city-to-city co-operations and identify common issues for the next meeting of the Forum; 
Call Upon the Mayors and Authorities of all Member Cities to appoint a focal point to follow up and facilitate the implementations of the decisions taken by the Forum and its authorized organs; 
Decide to start planning for an information portal on the Internet linking all Asian Cities with the vision of promoting further communications among authorities and citizens of the Member Cities; 
Identify disaster risk management; city to city co-operations; urban health and equity; and urban transformation, as priority areas of cooperation in the near future.

Second meeting of AMF Istanbul 2011

Commissions of AMF
Three main commissions were established at the First meeting in Tehran-2008 as follows:
1- Common Challenges of the Asian Cities 
2- City to City Cooperation
3- Local Governance and Public Participation. 

Each of the above-mentioned commissions held their relevant workshops at the last meetings as follows:
Impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the Asian cities, Natural calamities and the risk management, urban health, urban diplomacy and cooperation between local governments towards establishment of peace, experimental and technological exchanges for promoting quality of services, development of successful applied experimental patterns, citizen participation for promotion of the service-rendering quality and citizen participation in the public transportation sector and management.

Decisions of the Second Meeting of the Asian Mayors included:

1- Adoption of the Final Declaration in 16 articles
2- Election of 21 Members of the Executive Board from Asian cities
3- Election of the President of the Executive Board
4- Adoption of the Asian Mayors Forum Charter
5- Election of the First Secretary General of the Asian Mayors Forum (Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi)
6- Election of 5 Members of the Financial Committee from Asian cities
7-Handing over of the Asian Mayors Forum presidency from the Mayor of Tehran to the Mayor of Istanbul
 Second meeting of Asian Mayors forum ended its work by choosing H.E. Dr. Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan as the new president of Asian Mayors Forum for a term of 2 years. 

Handover term presidency of AMF from Mayor of Tehran to Mayor of Istanbul

First Executive Board Meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum - 1st and 2nd of February 2012, Bangkok, Thailand
The first meeting of the members of the AMF Executive Board took place in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on the 1st. and 2nd. of February 2012. The cities participating in this meeting were Bangkok, Colombo, Doha, Gaza, Gaziantep, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, Karachi, Manama, Tehran, and Shiraz.
The meeting was opened by the welcome address of M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Governor of Bangkok, in which he stressed the important role the AMF plays in promoting cooperation between Asian cities. During the opening ceremony, the representatives of Tehran, Gaza, Istanbul, and Shiraz spoke about their achievements in the field of urban management.
In the first meeting of the executive board, Mr. Ahmed Salamat, the Deputy Mayor of Istanbul, and Dr. Vallop Suwandee, Deputy Governor of Bangkok, were chosen as chairman and deputy chairman of the meeting respectively. The cities of Manama (Bahrain), Colombo (Sri Lanka), and Niigata (Japan) were chosen as associate members of the meeting.
During this meeting, the budget of the Secretariat and the annual membership fee of members were unanimously approved. Based on the Executive Board final decision, each member of the AMF will contribute an annual membership fee of $3000 to the AMF Secretariat.
Aside from the Executive Board meeting, another meeting was held in which the main issues of the AMF permanent Commissions were discussed, including Common Challenges, City-to-City Cooperation, and Local Governance. This meeting was presided over by Mr. Jasim Redha Hussein, a member of Manama's City Council, and participants were able to discuss issues with close and intensive cooperation.
The report prepared by this committee was written and recited to the members of the Executive Board by Mr. Jasim Redha Hussein. In this report, the focalization and durability of the permanent Commissions' issues of discussion were emphasized.
Following Bangkok's proposal to host the third meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum, it was decided that this city would be the host to the Third Assembly meeting of the Asian Mayors Forum in November 2012.

First Executive Board meeting of AMF Bangkok 2011

At the end Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi (Secretary General of AMF) along with the Deputy Governor of Bangkok described the achievements of the meeting in a press conference.


Press Conference of Secretary General of AMF and Deputy Governor of Bangkok

The visit of Bangkok delegation to Tehran

The Minutes of Collaboration, comprising of 13 articles, was signed by Dr. Vallop Suwandee, Deputy Governor of BMA, and Mr. Mohammad Khodadadi, Secretary General of AMF, within a formal ceremony in June, 2012, Tehran. 
Bangkok delegation also called the activities of Tehran Municipality very valuable, innovative and serving the convenience of citizens. They said that the AMF, which was initiated by Tehran Mayor, is a significant center to establish ties amid Asian metropolises and capitals.